Friday, April 24, 2020
In one of the great, emblematic moments of the Coronavirus Crisis at my library, all the big library managers were having an important meeting- because they are all very important meetings- and one of the Branch Managers was weighing in on how much of a toll the curbside pickup was taking on her staff. She said they were badly overworked, understaffed, unsafe, and working in extremely stressful circumstances. In short, they needed help.
So the Library Director, formerly of Marketing, not usually one for big decisions, went ahead and made one:
"It's time," She said flatly "To implement appreciation."
And if you are far away enough from me and my mess of a library system to laugh at the Orwellian outlandishness of such a thing, you might want to reconsider your slightly horrified chuckles and try a few tears instead. Because I am pretty sure the whole country has now switched to this phase:
The nice businesses gave their bonuses and paid leave and reassurances. The local municipalities handed out their scraps of extra sick time. The government sent people their modest one time stipends and forgivable small business loans. The Hospitals hired some extra staff and went through their scant supplies of protective gear. Promises were made. We needed to come together as one and look adversity in the eye!
But that's all over now.
Now is the time to implement appreciation.
You hospital orderly getting paid next to nothing, and nurse without a mask working a double shift, thank you! You grocery store worker doing twice the work, facing extra danger, and at the same paltry pay, thank you. Firemen and garbage collectors, nursing home worker and fry cook in the to-go cafe, thank you. Tireless Doctors fighting bureaucracy to give help, low paid delivery drivers, mail carriers, and factory workers in essential services, thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you!
Will the powerful lessen their grip a little and let the people on the ground make a few decisions based on reality? Will the rich forgo some of their vast fortunes to lighten the load? Will we all come together to feed the poor, take care of the sick, and shelter the cold? Will we do the right thing, with resolve and generosity of spirit?
These are the wrong questions.
Indeed the time for questions has passed.
Now is the time to say thank you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.